USA / New Hispanic dailies bank on strong readership and advertising

Three new Hispanic dailies hit the newsstands this month. Not to mention the August launch of Spanish language tabloid El Nuevo Día, published by Puerto Rico-based Ferré Rangel Group for Latinos living in Orlando and Central Florida. These efforts are part of a larger push by publishers to offer advertisers print media with regional and national reach.

Tribune launches Hoy-Chicago ...

On September 2nd, the 10-year-old Spanish language weekly Exito!, became the new daily Hoy. Hoy has a circulation of 60,000 copies a day and a newsstand price of 25 cents per copy. Exito! had a circulation of 88,000 copies per week and was distributed for free.

>Hoy-Chicago will share the vision of Hoy-New York, but with a strong focus on local content. That's the most important thing, that it has strong roots in the community,” says Luis Sito, Tribune's vice-president for Hispanic media and publisher of Hoy-New York>

Hoy-Chicago will not have a rival Hispanic daily like Hoy-New York has in el diario/La Prensa. However, it will face competition from several weeklies, like La Raza, a Spanish/English weekly covering the Chicago metropolitan area, with a circulation of 160,000. “The Hispanic market is big enough to support several publications,” Sito notes. Approximately 2 million Hispanics live in the Chicago area.

To attract regional and national advertisers, Tribune will introduce a single brand into multiple markets. “We do not want to confuse the marketplace with multiple brands,” Sito says. “We are planning to launch Hoy in other major US cities.” Tribune's goal is to be a national newspaper brand with a strong local/community component.

It has been very difficult for national and regional advertisers to reach Hispanics nationwide through print, Sito explains. “Some publications are audited, some are not. Some are in broadsheet, others in tabloid format.” With the launch of Hoy-Chicago, Tribune offers advertisers the ability to reach Hispanics in four large US cities – Hoy New York, (circ. 91,000 daily, Monday-Friday, 32,000 Sundays), Hoy-Chicago (circ. 60,000 daily), El Sentinel (Orlando, circ. 60,000 weekly) and La Opinion (co-owned with the Lozano family, Los Angeles, circ. 135,000 daily). According to some media buyers, these figures may still be too low to attract national advertisers. The combined circulation of Tribune's Hispanic newspapers (346,000) is still lower than that of leading national magazines targeting Latinos (e.g. People en español circ. 400,000).

Tribune will use existing relationships with advertisers from its English language papers to sell print ad space in its Hispanic publications. For example, Hoy-Chicago might profit from Macy's relationship with Chicago Tribune. Sito sees cross-selling opportunities with other retailers and brands, particularly in the wire-services sector. However, Tribune's Hispanic print media properties will maintain their own ad sales force in order to attract local advertisers. Regarding the sale of ad space in Hispanic print media properties bundled with ads in Tribune's 32 TV stations, Sito says that cross-media advertising sales are “on the plate,” but no deals have been made.

...In Dallas/Ft. Worth, a Full-Fledged Newspaper War

Also on September 2nd, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, owned by Knight Ridder, changed its ten year old daily, La Estrella into Diario La Estrella, and increased circulation from twice a week to five days a week. Belo Corp.'s Dallas Morning News countered by announcing the September 29th launch of Al Día, published six days-a-week and aimed at the region's 1 million Hispanics, 90 percent of whom are Mexican.

Before the transformation, La Estrella, based in Fort Worth, had a staff of eight and distributed 37,500 free copies twice weekly via racks in shops, stores and restaurants in Hispanic neighborhoods. Diario La Estrella will double its staff, open a new Dallas office, and circulate 25,000 free copies daily. To meet the demand of its Mexican American readers, Diario La Estrella will include news and information from the Mexican Reforma group of publications and the Mexican news service Notimex.

Belo's Al Día will have an initial circulation of 40,000 through home delivery and single-copy sales. Al Día will be distributed for free, initially, but plans to increase its price to 25 cents per copy. The daily will target Spanish-dominant speakers, with bilingual speakers as a secondary target, said Gilbert Bailon, who is heading the launch. According to Belo, the launch will cost just under $4 million over 18 months. Al Día is Belo's second attempt to launch a Spanish publication. La Fuente closed in 2001 after a five-year run.

Like Tribune, Knight Ridder now has a group of newspapers targeting Hispanic-Americans – Diario La Estrella, El Nuevo Herald (Miami, circ. 90.000 daily, 99,400 Sundays), Nuevo Mundo (San José, circ. 60,000 weekly). It is not yet clear whether Knight Ridder will adopt a one stop Hispanic print media buy approach for national advertisers or whether it will continue functioning with mostly local advertising sales representatives, Javier Aldape, publisher of Diario La Estrella, tells Portadatm.


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